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JOHN PILGER is one of the world's most renowned and distinguished investigative journalists and documentary film-makers. Twice a winner of Britain's highest honour, that of Journalist of the Year, he writes for The Mirror newspaper and New Statesman magazine. ColdType is republishing his most recent anti-war articles from these journals as pdf downloads, ready for printing as inserts into an 8.5" by 11" binder. The cover (above) and biography may also be downloaded for printing. Pilger's latest book, The New Rulers Of The World, is published by Verso (www.versobooks.com)
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NEW – 31. The BBC and Iraq: Myth and reality
Greg Dyke, the BBC’s director general, has attacked American television reporting of Iraq. “For any news organisation to act as a cheerleader for government is to undermine your credibility,” he said. “They should be... balancing their coverage, not banging the drum for one side or the other.” He said research showed that, of 840 experts interviewed on American news programmes during the invasion of Iraq, only four opposed the war. “If that were true in Britain, the BBC would have failed in its duty.”
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NEW – 30. An interview with John Pilger
Anthony Arnove interviews John Pilger for Socialist Worker on the making of his latest documentary, 'Breaking the Silence', and the extraordinary evidence he unearthed that illuminates the lies of senior US officials.
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NEW 29a. Bush and Blair are in trouble
Shortly before the disastrous Bush visit to Britain, Tony Blair was at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday. It was an unusual glimpse of a state killer whose effete respectability has gone. His perfunctory nod to “the glorious dead” came from a face bleak with guilt. As William Howard Russell of the Times wrote of another prime minister responsible for the carnage in the Crimea, “He carries himself like one with blood on his hands.” Having shown his studied respect to the Queen, whose prerogative allowed him to commit his crime in Iraq, Blair hurried away. “Sneak home and pray you’ll never know,” wrote Siegfried Sassoon in 1917, “The hell where youth and laughter go.”
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29. The silence of the writers
In 1935, the first Congress of American Writers was held at the Carnegie Hall in New York, followed by another two years later. By one account, 3,500 crammed into the auditorium and a thousand more were turned away. They were electric events, with writers discussing how they could confront ominous events in Abyssinia, China and Spain. Telegrams from Thomas Mann, C Day Lewis, Upton Sinclair and Albert Einstein were read out, reflecting the fear that great power was now rampant and that it had become impossible to discuss art and literature without politics. “A writer,” Martha Gellhorn told the second congress, “must be a man of action now . . . A man who has given a year of his life to steel strikes, or to the unemployed, or to the problems of racial prejudice, has not lost or wasted time. He is a man who has known where he belonged. If you should survive such action, what you have to say about it afterwards is the truth, is necessary and real, and it will last.”
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28. The rise and fall of liberal England
An epic shame and silence covers much of liberal England. Shame and silence are present in a political theatre of frenetic activity, with actors running on and off the national stage, uttering their fables and denials and minor revelations, as in Ibsen’s Enemy of the People. From the media gallery, there is a cryptic gesturing at the truth, so that official culpability is minimised; this is known at the BBC as objectivity.
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27. Media censorship high on the agenda
Reducing journalism to a branch of corporate and government public relations is the hidden agenda of the media deregulators, in Britain and America.
The Australian novelist Richard Flanagan was recently asked by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation to read a favourite piece of fiction on national radio and explain his reasons for the choice. “I was unsure what fiction to read to you this morning,” he said. “If we take the work of our most successful spinner of fictions in recent times, [Prime Minister] John Howard, I could have read from the varied and splendid tall tales he and his fellow storytellers have concocted...”

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26. Colin Powell said Iraq was no threat
Exactly one year ago, Tony Blair told Parliament: “Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction programme is active, detailed and growing. “The policy of containment is not working. The weapons of mass destruction programme is not shut down. It is up and running now.” Not only was every word of this false, it was part of a big lie invented in Washington within hours of the attacks of September 11 2001 and used to hoodwink the American public and distract the media from the real reason for attacking Iraq. “It was 95 per cent charade,” a former senior CIA analyst told me.
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25. Iraq’s epic suffering is made invisible
For the past few weeks, I have been watching videotapes of the attack on Iraq, most of them not shown in this country. The tapes concentrate on the epic suffering of ordinary Iraqis . . . It is difficult viewing, but necessary if one is to understand fully the words of the Nuremberg judges in 1946 when they laid down the principles of modern international law: “To initiate a war of aggression... is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”
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24. Needed: An enquiry into a slaughter
The 1994 inquiry by Lord Justice Scott into the scandal of Britain’s illegal supply of weapons to Saddam Hussein produced memorable moments. There was Mark Higson’s detailed description of “a culture of lying” at the Foreign Office, where he was the Iraq Desk Officer. And there was the anxious moment when it seemed that Margaret Thatcher might walk out. “Lady Thatcher,” said His Lordship, “we’ll try and trouble you with as few papers as possible”. . . The Hutton inquiry into the circumstances of Dr David Kelly’s death has its memorable moments, too.
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23. Who are the extremists?
The “liberation” of Iraq is a cruel joke on a stricken people. The Americans and British, partners in a great recognised crime, have brought down on the Middle East, and much of the rest of the world, the prospect of terrorism and suffering on a scale that al-Qaeda could only imagine. That is what this week’s bloody bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad tells us. It is a “wake-up call”, according to Mary Robinson, the former UN Humanitarian Commissioner.
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22. The ultimate terror attack
August marks another anniversary of the atomic bombing of Japan, the ultimate act of terrorism in which 231,920 people have now died, the latest, the children of 1945, from a plague of cancers. I first visited Hiroshima 22 years after the atomic bombing. Although the city had been completely rebuilt with glass boxes and ring roads, its suffering was not difficult to find.
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21. The war on truth
John Pilger reports from the United States on the suppression of the genesis and human cost of the 'war on terror' and the invasion of Iraq. As more American GIs are killed every day, the propaganda apparatus struggles to relay a positive message - while the next adventure is planned.
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20. Lies, distortions and arms sales (July 6, 2003)
Unless we apply the lesson “all governments are liars” to our own leaders, British fighter jets and chemical weapons technology will continue to wreck lives all over the world. The conscious nature of Tony Blair’s lies and distortions over Iraq is now clear. Collectors will have their favourites. Mine is his statement in parliament on 29 January that “we do know of links between al-Qaeda and Iraq”.
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19. Bush's Vietnam (June 23, 2003)
America’s two “great victories” since 11 September 2001 are unravelling. In Afghanistan, the regime of Hamid Karzai has virtually no authority and no money, and would collapse without American guns. Al-Qaeda has not been defeated, and the Taliban are re-emerging. Regardless of showcase improvements, the situation of women and children remains desperate. Murder, rape and child abuse are committed with impunity by the private armies of America’s “friends”, the warlords whom Washington has bribed with millions of dollars, cash in hand, to give the pretence of stability.
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18. WMD will be on Blair’s headstone (June 4, 2003)
Such a high crime does not, and will not, melt away; the facts cannot be changed. Tony Blair took Britain to war against Iraq illegally. He mounted an unprovoked attack on a country that offered no threat, and he helped cause the deaths of thousands of innocent people. The judges at the Nuremberg Tribunal following World War tII, who inspired much of international law, called this "the gravest of all war crimes".
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17. Britain supports terrorists (May 26, 2003)
In recent weeks, a number of apparently unrelated news reports have, in sum, told a truth that is never reported. According to Human Rights Watch, thousands of British and American cluster bombs were fired at and dropped on civilian areas in Iraq. British artillery fired more than 2,000 of them at Basra. Each shell scatters bomblets over a wide area, and many fail to explode. Their victims are “not known”, says the Ministry of Defence. They are known. They are often children; Iraq’s population is almost half children.
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16. Remembering Jim Howard (May 13, 2003)
On 29 August 1979, the afternoon monsoon in Phnom Penh was so powerful that it roared like a broken river through the ruined Bank of Cambodia, washing millions of brand new banknotes into almost deserted streets. Starving children collected them and some tried to use them as fuel beneath cooking pots filled with leaves. Such was the aftermath of a decade of terror: of Pol Pot and his catalyst, the American bombing and invasion in 1970. As two rats scampered to and fro across the puddles in my room, a tall, ruddy-faced man opened my door. “I’m Jim Howard,” he said. “Where do I start?”
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15. A crisis for journalism (April 25, 2003)
On 8 April, newspapers around the world carried a despatch from a Reuters correspondent, “embedded” with the US army, about the murder of a ten-year-old Iraqi boy. An American private had “unloaded machine-gun fire and the boy . . . fell dead on a garbage-strewn stretch of wasteland”. The tone of the report was highly sympathetic to the soldier, “a softly spoken 21-year-old” who, “although he has no regrets about opening fire, it is clear he would rather it was not a child he killed”
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14. The unthinkable is becoming the normal (April 20, 2003)
Last Sunday, seated in the audience at the Bafta television awards ceremony, I was struck by the silence. Here were many of the most influential members of the liberal elite, the writers, producers, dramatists, journalists and managers of our main source of information, television; and not one broke the silence. It was as though we were disconnected from the world outside: a world of rampant, rapacious power and great crimes committed in our name by our government and its foreign master. Iraq is the “test case”, says the Bush regime, which every day sails closer to Mussolini’s definition of fascism: the merger of a militarist state with corporate power. Iraq is a test case for western liberals, too. As the suffering mounts in that stricken country, with Red Cross doctors describing “incredible’’ levels of civilian casualties, the choice of the next conquest, Syria or Iran, is “debated’’ on the BBC, as if it were a World Cup venue.
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13. This is a crime against humanity (April 14, 2003)
A BBC television producer, moments before he was wounded by an American fighter aircraft that killed 18 people with “friendly fire”, spoke to his mother on a satellite phone. Holding the phone over his head so that she could hear the sound of the American planes overhead, he said: “Listen, that’s the sound of freedom.” Did I read this scene in Catch-22? Surely, the BBC man was being ferociously ironic. I doubt it, just as I doubt that whoever designed the Observer’s page three last Sunday had Joseph Heller in mind when he wrote the weasel headline: “The moment young Omar discovered the price of war”.
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12. We see too much. We know too much (April 6, 2003)
We now glimpse the forbidden truths of the invasion of Iraq. A man cuddles the body of his infant daughter; her blood drenches them. A woman in black pursues a tank, her arms outstretched; all seven in her family are dead. An American Marine murders a woman because she happens to be standing next to a man in a uniform. “I’m sorry,’’ he says, “but the chick got in the way.’’
Covering this in a shroud of respectability has not been easy for George Bush and Tony Blair. Millions now know too much; the crime is all too evident. Tam Dalyell, Father of the House of Commons, a Labour MP for 41 years, says the Prime Minister is a war criminal and should be sent to The Hague. He is serious, because the prima facie case against Blair and Bush is beyond doubt.

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11. The war for truth (April 5, 2003)
"We had a great day," said Sgt Eric Schrumpf of the US Marines last Saturday. "We killed a lot of people." He added: "We dropped a few civilians, but what do you do?" He said there were women standing near an Iraqi soldier, and one of them fell when he and other Marines opened fire. "I'm sorry," said Sgt Schrumpf, "but the chick was in the way". For me, what is remarkable about this story is that I heard almost the same words 36 years ago when a US Marine sergeant told me he had killed a pregnant woman.
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10. Six days of shame (March 26, 2003)
Today is a day of shame for the British military as it declares the Iraqi city of Basra, with a stricken population of a million men, women and children, a “military target”. You will not read or hear those words on the BBC or elsewhere in the establishment media that claims to speak for Britain. But they are true. With Basra, shame is now our signature, forged by Blair and Bush.
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09. How you can protest (March 20, 2003)
When Bush and Blair begin their illegal and immoral attack on a country that offers us no threat, we all have a choice. We can wring our hands and say there is nothing we can do in the face of such powerful piracy – or we can reclaim the democracy that has been so corrupted by an elected dictatorship (in Bush’s case, unelected). There is only one responsible way to achieve the second goal. The polite term is civil disobedience. The street term is rebellion. In 1946, Justice Robert Jackson, the chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials of the Nazi leadership, said that the “very essence” of international justice “is that individuals have international duties which transcend national obligations of obedience imposed by the state”.
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08. This is the cost of Blair’s ‘moral’ war (March 13, 2003)
The Blair Government has known, almost from the day it came to office in 1997, that Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction were almost certainly destroyed following the Gulf War. Of all the pro-war propaganda of Blair and Bush, and their current threats giving Saddam Hussein yet another deadline to disarm, what may be their biggest lie is exposed by this revelation.
Two weeks ago, a transcript of a United Nations debriefing of Iraqi general Hussein Kamel was obtained by the American magazine, Newsweek, and by Cambridge University analyst, Glen Rangwala (who last month revealed that Blair’s “intelligence dossier” on Iraq was lifted, word for word, from an American student’s thesis).

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07. Farce, morality and innocent victims (February 27, 2003)
Having failed to fabricate a link between Iraq and al-Qaeda, and prove that Iraq has a secret armoury of banned weapons, the warmongers have fallen back on the “moral case” for an unprovoked attack on a stricken country. Farce has arrived. We want to laugh out loud, a deep and dark and almost grief-laden laugh, at Blair’s concern for the “victims of Saddam Hussein” and his admonishment (reprinted in the Observer) of the millions of protesters: “There will be … no protests about the thousands of [Iraqi] children that die needlessly every year …”
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06. Why we should march (February 14, 2003)
Tomorrow will be one of the most important public events in memory will take place in central London. It is not possible to overstate the significance and urgency of the march and demonstration against an unprovoked British and American attack on Iraq, a nation with whom we have no quarrel and who offer us no threat. The urgency is the saving of lives. First, let us stop calling it a “war”. The last time “war” was used in the Gulf was in 1991 when the truth was buried with more than 200,000 people. Attacking a 70-mile line of trenches, three American brigades, operating at night, used 60-ton armoured earthmovers to bury alive teenage Iraqi conscripts, including the wounded and those surrendering and retreating. Survivors were slaughtered from the air. The helicopter gunship pilots called it a “turkey shoot”.
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05. Painful decisions (February 13, 2003)
As the world protests against war, we hear again the lies of old. “A painful decision,” say the supporters of an invasion. But it is not they who will feel the pain: it will be the Iraqi infants writhing in the dust when the cluster bombs fall. In “Dulce et decorum est”, his classic poem from the First World War, Wilfred Owen described young soldiers, doomed to die, “like old beggars under sacks”, and a man’s “hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin”.
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04. Paper turns its back on a great legacy (January 30, 2003)
In its leaders [editorials] supporting the war in Iraq, the Observer newspaper proves that it has truly buried its great liberal editor David Astor, and his principled, “freethinking” legacy. The Palestinian writer Ghada Karmi has described “a deep and unconscious racism [that] imbues every aspect of western conduct toward Iraq”. She wrote: “I recall that a similar culture prevailed in the UK during the 1956 Suez crisis and the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, when Nasser was the arch-villain and all Arabs were crudely targeted. Today, in Britain, such overt anti-Arabness is unacceptable, so it takes subtler forms. Saddam-bashing, a sport officially sanctioned since 1991, has made him the perfect surrogate for anti-Arab abuse.”
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03. Bloody cowards! (January 29, 2003)
William Russell, the great correspondent who reported the carnage of imperial wars, may have first used the expression, “blood on his hands”, to describe impeccable politicians who, at a safe distance, order the mass killing of ordinary people. In my experience, “on his hands” applies especially to those modern political leaders who have had no personal experience of war, like George W Bush, who managed not to serve in Vietnam, and the effete Tony Blair. There is about them the essential cowardice of the man who causes death and suffering not by his own hand, but through a chain of command that affirms his “authority”.
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02. In search of a new Pearl Harbor (December 12, 2002)
Two years ago a project set up by the men who now surround George W Bush said what America needed was “a new Pearl Harbor”. Its published aims have, alarmingly, come true. The threat posed by US terrorism to the security of nations and individuals was outlined in prophetic detail in a document written more than two years ago and disclosed only recently. What was needed for America to dominate much of humanity and the world’s resources, it said, was “some catastrophic and catalysing event – like a new Pearl Harbor”.
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01. Lies, damned lies and terror warnings (December 3, 2002)
On November 7, the day before the United Nations Security Council voted on a resolution that made an American and British attack on Iraq more than likely, Downing Street began issuing warnings of imminent terrorist threats against the United Kingdom. Cross-Channel ferries, the London Underground and major public events were all said to be “targeted”. The anonymous Government sources described “emergency security measures” that included a “rapid reaction force of army reservists” and a squadron of fighter jets “on constant standby”. Plans were being drawn up to “evacuate major cities and deal with large numbers of contaminated corpses”. Police snipers were being trained “to kill suicide bombers” and anti-radiation pills were being distributed to hospitals. By November 11, Tony Blair himself was telling the British public to be “on guard” against an attack that could lead to “maximum carnage”.
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